'Not Even EA Thought A Way Out Would Sell' - Josef Fares on Why He's Making Games in a Genre He Had to Invent - IGN
A Way Out and It Takes Two creator Josef Fares keeps making games in a genre he's more or less had to invent - we asked the outspoken director why.
Fares has, in effect, created a new genre of game to work within - narrative co-op adventures might be a suitable name. A Way Out was his first true tilt at the idea, but you can see the first sketches of that approach in Fares' first game, too – the wonderful Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was effectively a co-op game designed to be played by a single person, or by two people on a single controller. Fares is clearly deeply interested in telling stories using multiple bodies, whether virtual or physical.
“There are so many unique and cool story experiences with a tailored co-op experience you can create,” Fares tells me when I ask him why he’s so drawn to this unusual style. “You can create this tension between the players, or this relation between the players through the game. There's definitely something that should be explored. That's something that we as a studio really want to push and become the best in the world at.”
He pauses momentarily, before adding. “We are the best in the world, because nobody else is doing it.”
He’s not wrong. Even years after its release, no one’s made quite the same kind of game as A Way Out – possibly because Fares is the only person with the level of all-consuming self-belief to convince publishers to finance such a thing:
“When I believe in something, nothing can stop me. Obviously no one believed in [A Way Out] – not even EA thought it would sell, but they still believed in me. I didn't care. I was like, ‘This is going to happen.’ Now, we've sold almost 3.5 million units of that game. These numbers for a small team of 30, 35 people are madness, you know? And at 3.5 million units sold, that means that, I don't know, almost seven million people played this game, which is crazy.
“Now it's proven but, for me, the important thing was to follow your passion and what you believe in. I do believe that there might be someone in the industry who wanted to try this kind of game, but they didn't really dare to because they were afraid of what could happen. I just think that sometimes you need to f**k s**t up and really go with what you truly believe in. That's the only thing that matters, you know? I do think – and hope – that more people do this, especially when publishers see that, ‘Oh, we have an audience here.’ People want this, obviously.”
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